Bloemencorso is a flower parade of truly epic proportions. When the spring blues get me down, I'll always be reaching for these memories: still cold, still damp, but oh-so-colourful and smelling fresh, like the best is yet to come.
Part ritual, part mystery, part madness, Carnaval in southern Netherlands what I imagine being dropped in Wonderland would be like. For three days everything shuts down for people to dress up in elaborate (and often homemade) costumes, pull out their floats and music carts, load up on beer and snacks to sell, and do absolutely anything they want.
In the past few years I have really become really obsessed with bicycles, to be honest the Tour De France and professional cycling hasn't been a big interest. I would watch occasional highlights on TV for major races and Youtube the "Best of" whatever in Pro-Cycling(usually crash compilations or hair raising mountain descents). Nobody really watches an entire race on TV unless you're actually interested in it or have a favourite team or rider.
There is just nothing like walking into a group of Canadians. We are a welcoming bunch, and we are remarkably able to connect with each other in a way that transcends distance. Living in a country that is three hours across by train, it seems wholly inadequate to describe Edmonton's location as "near Calgary" or "closer to Vancouver than Toronto." The diversity in our people and culture and geography, is nothing to Canadians but fodder for conversation about our shared experience.
What is amazing about Koningsdag is that the city literally shuts down to give the people free reign. On this day, pedestrians, not bikes, rule the streets. The party spans the the whole city and everything goes. You want to drink beer in the middle of the street (normally illegal), go ahead! Want to set up a BBQ on the sidewalk and sell kababs, go ahead! Want to bring your boom box on the train and blast your favourite tunes in the "silent" car, go right on ahead!
Bloemencorso only takes place here, but makes the news throughout the country, so we feel really special to have been able to witness it. We were, of course, tardy to the parade (has a Shuchuk ever been on time?) but we were amazed by the second half, and the hour's bike ride was well worth it. This year's theme was "200 Years Kingdom" and the parade included twenty floats decorated completely with flowers and bulbs, luxury cars, marching bands and other entertainment.